How Do I Make a Plan to Vote?

UPDATED: September 29, 2020

This year, with so many uncertainties before us due to COVID-19, each of us needs to make a plan to vote. Making a plan allows us to see ourselves voting, anticipate any problems that might occur, and prepare alternatives to ensure that our votes will count! Here are some things to think about:

First, make sure you are registered and the Board of Elections has your correct address. The deadline for registering is coming up fast: October 9 by mail or in person. If you’re not sure, just call, email or visit the Board of Elections and ask. Or use the website to find out if you’re registered, where your polling place is, and where you can vote early. It takes about 1 minute!

Will you vote by absentee ballot or in person? This year many of us will apply for an absentee ballot even if we plan to vote in person.You can apply now electronically through the NYS Board of Elections Absentee Application Portal. You can also call, email, fax, or go in-person to your County Board of Elections to request an absentee ballot. Help is also available for persons with low vision. Contact your County Board of Elections for more information about absentee voting.

Additional information about absentee voting in New York State is available here:

Some important notes about absentee voting:  

  • You can request an absentee ballot for any reason by checking the box that says “Temporary illness or physical disability" *Temporary illness includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19. But this last line is not included on the printed form. Check that box anyway. 

  • When completing your absentee ballot, make sure to follow all of the instructions to the letter, especially those concerning signing the envelope in which you place your ballot and placing postage on the external envelope, if required.

When and Where will you vote? Early voting takes place from October 24 through November 1. Information on early voting times and locations appears below.  You may vote at any polling place in your county.  Call your County Board of Elections or visit its web site to confirm the location of your polling place on election day (November 3) if you aren’t sure.

How will you get there? If you plan to vote with an absentee ballot, how will you ensure your ballot gets to the Board of Elections on time?

Please note that you may return your voted absentee ballot (or the ballot of a friend or neighbor) without waiting in line by bringing it to the Board of Election and each poll site during early voting and on election day. There will be a labeled box to receive absentee ballots.

The U.S. Postal Service requests that those planning to vote by absentee ballot request their ballots as soon as possible; those planning to mail their ballots should do so at least seven days before the election.

Who else can you bring with you? Or who can give you a ride if you need one?

What else do you need to consider? Do you need to take off work or secure childcare? Although voting as a family is a tradition for many of us, if there are long lines or big crowds at the polls, you may not want the children to have to wait with you.

Albany County Board of Elections: 518-487-5060

Rensselaer County Board of Elections: 518-270-2990

Saratoga County Board of Elections: 518-885-2249

Schenectady County Board of Elections: 518-377-2469

Early Voting times in all the locations below are as follows:

From October 24 through November 1 only:

  • Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm;

  • Monday and Wednesday from 12 pm to 8 pm; and

  • Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 am to 5 pm

Albany County Board of Elections: 518-487-5060

  • Albany County Board of Elections – 260 South Pearl St., Albany, NY 12202

  • Berne Volunteer Fire Company – 30 Canaday Hill Rd., Berne, NY 12023

  • Bethlehem Lutheran Church – 85 Elm Ave., Delmar, NY 12054

  • Pine Grove United Methodist Church – 1580 Central Ave., Albany, NY 12205

  • Boght Community Fire Department – 8 Preston Dr., Cohoes, NY 12047

  • Guilderland Fire Department - 2303 Western Ave., Guilderland, NY 12084

Rensselaer County Board of Elections: 518-270-2990

  • Holy Cross Armenian Church, 255 Spring Ave, Troy, NY 12180

  • Schodack Town Hall, 265 Schuurman Rd, Castleton, NY 12033

  • Brunswick Office Bldg., 336 Town Office Rd., Troy, NY 12180

Saratoga County Board of Elections: 518-885-2249

  • Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library, 475 Moe Road, Clifton Park

  • Gavin Park: 10 Lewis Road, Saratoga Springs

  • Board of Elections, 50 West High Street, Ballston Spa

Schenectady County Board of Elections: 518-377-2469

  • Hon. Karen B. Johnson Library, Central Branch, 99 Clinton Street, Schenectady, NY 12305

  • South Schenectady Fire Department 6 Old Mariaville Road, Rotterdam, NY 12306

  • Glenville Senior Center, 32 Worden Road, Glenville, NY 12302

  • Niskayuna Town Hall 1 Niskayuna Circle, Niskayuna, NY 12309


Lisa Petter Dodman and her husband, Tim Dodman, participated in an international observation team for the Croatian municipal elections in 2001. Lisa also served as an election inspector in Cayuga County for the 2005 and 2006 elections and as an international observer for national elections in Kyrgyzstan and Macedonia those same years.

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